Acts 15:1-5 First General Assembly-A Change In Covenantal Administration.
Once again the issue of circumcision arises from certain men from Judea, following the lead of the Pharisees, trying to persuade the believers that it was necessary for one to be saved (vv. 1, 5 Cf. Phil. 3:2). On this issue we get a glimpse of the importance of what amounts to the resolving of issues through a Presbyterian form of government. They could not solve the issue at the level of the local church, either as an individual church or indeed a presbytery of churches, so the issue is sent to a general assembly in Jerusalem, the place where some of the apostles still dwelt. Therefore they determined that Paul and Barnabas, accompanied by others chosen, should make the trip to Jerusalem (vv. 2-3 Cf. v. 12; 14:27; Gal. 2:1). It was at this first general assembly that they were able to report to the apostles and elders, “all things that God had done with them,” especially as concerned the Gentiles (v. 4). At one point Paul actually stood alone, with Barnabas even wavering (Cf. Gal 2:11-13).